That’s Robert Jeffress. He would have us believe he is simply a patriot. But his First Baptist of Dallas is a prime example of a Christian church using sacred space for the worship of the nation rather than God. Like its Freedom Sunday, where the whole service was a Pageant of Christian Nationalism, replete with military color guard and salute to our Armed Forces amidst a flag-waving congregation.
“The New York Times has libeled me by characterizing me as a Christian Nationalist”, complains Ralph Drollinger, who runs a ministry to Capitol Hill. If it looks like a duck… yet Jeffress refuses to come out of the closet. And Drollinger claims Christian Nationalism is a fallacy. But not all Christian Nationalists hide their true intent behind clerical robes. “So if Christian nationalism is something to be scared of, they’re lying to you,” declares Marjorie Taylor Greene. “Let’s demonize patriotism by calling it nationalism and associating that with Hitler. Ah, now let’s call it white nationalism,” sardonically said Rod Martin, one of the founders of the Conservative Baptist Network. “Then we’ll call it Christian nationalist so we’ll make it sound like you are the ayatollah. It is all designed to demonize you.” You see, the modern day Christian Taliban is a myth. If Christian Nationalism quacks like Hitler or the ayatollah…
“Listen long enough to any… left-wing group and you’ll believe [the secular] history of America…That version of history… ,” Jeffress preached, “is a complete myth!… America was founded predominantly… by Christians who wanted to build this foundation, this Christian nation, on the foundation of God’s will,” according to Jeffress. And so, the non-Christian Nationalist delivered a powerful rival liturgy to the Gospel story. The operative word is predominantly. There were fervent proto-evangelicals among the Founding Fathers, but there also were non-orthodox Deists and Unitarians, and a very large faction of non-religious influenced by the Enlightenment.
“It’s not in the Constitution!” Charlie Kirk was spouting his own brand of bullshit, this time ranting that “we should have church and state mixed together. Our Founding Fathers believed in that.” They also agreed on the Constitution’s wording, but somehow left out any reference to “God”. Jefferson didn’t create “separation between church and state” out of thin air. It didn’t start in 1802 with Jefferson’s Danbury letter. Take for example, the 1797 Barbary Treaty of Peace and Friendship: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…” It goes back further, to the Constitution of Virginia of 1776, which stated that “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.” As if to make the right more definite, the final draft was changed from the toleration of free exercise of religion to its entitlement.
America was not founded as a Christian nation. It was a nation of many Christians of all stripes – including repressed Roman Catholics, with several states at the time of the Constitution requiring a Protestant religious test oath to take office. And yes, there was a sizeable Jewish population in America during the American Revolutionary War, with many communities of free-born men, having been settled as early as the 1650s. “The Founders of this nation explicitly included Islam in their vision of the future of the republic”, according to a Library of Congress official. She cites as evidence the words of William Lancaster, a delegate to the North Carolina Convention, who on July 30, 1788, makes the following declaration: “But let us remember that we form a government for millions not yet in existence…. In the course of four or five hundred years, I do not know how it will work. This is most certain, that Papists may occupy that chair, and Mahometans may take it. I see nothing against it.”
“The storming of the Capitol cannot be understood outside the heresy of Christian nationalism peddled by the likes of Josh Hawley, Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, Eric Metaxas, and the blasphemies of the Jericho March”, writes Christianity Today’s Tish Warren. We’re only beginning to see the repercussions of church-state domination that the Founding Fathers were determined to avoid. Even after 130 years, the Puritans, extreme Calvinists who wanted religious liberty for themselves – but not others (Arminians, Jesuits and Quakers in particular) – cast a long shadow of intolerance. Regardless of the nice, ambiguous words they say, evangelicals/Christian Nationalists are trying to coerce a religious dystopia onto modern society. It didn’t work then and was discredited. What makes any rational think it will work now? Especially when their Christian Nationalist lies are so transparent to a majority of Americas who don’t want their dreadful God being imposed on them.